* A curfew will be put from 10hrs-6hrs
* Bars should open from 2 pm to 10 pm to only serve customers on takeaway basis
* Restaurants should open from 6hrs-10hrs
* No political rallies allowed
* Banks to ensure ATMs have enough cash at all times
* Businesses must increase the number of cashiers to serve customers quickly
* All public transport vehicles should not exceed 50% of their carrying capacity
* Government is discouraging people from just walking into other people’s offices, instead, people should book appointments
* Vendors in markets must stay on their stand and not walk around to solicit customers
* Government is encouraging screening temperatures and enforcing wearing of masks at entrances of markets
By Duncan Mlanjira
Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda has announced that the government is implementing Level 3 response to CoVID-19 following the increase in the new confirmed cases, admissions, deaths since June 1.
At a press conference in Lilongwe, Chiponda said the CoVID-19 Emergency Operation Centre as been closely monitoring the trend of the pandemic and based on this increase, the data indicates that the country is in the third wave of the pandemic.
“Our experts have worked tirelessly to come up with the alert levels and thresholds for each level so as to provide guidance on the measures to be instituted on each level.
“The alert levels have been categorized in five levels with level 1 having least number of cases and level 5 having an increased surge of cases, admissions and deaths.”
She disclosed that from June 1-July 6, the country has cumulatively recorded 3,032 new CoVID-19 cases, 62 deaths and the admissions in the treatment units have risen from 10 to 109 during the same period.
“This is the highest number being recorded following the reduced numbers since the end of second wave in February 2021.
Chiponda disclosed that the increase in the number of cases and deaths is also being observed globally including the SADC countries, South Africa being most hit and Zambia following similar trends.
Globally, as of July 6, there have been 183,934,913 confirmed cases, including 3,985,022 deaths, reported to WHO.
Cumulatively, as of July 6, Malawi has 37,366 cases including 1,218 deaths with case fatality rate at 3.26%.
Cumulatively, 33,490 cases have now recovered at the recovery rate of 89.6% while 232 were lost to follow-up — bringing the total number of active cases to 2,426.
There were 20 new admissions in the treatment units on July 5 while nine cases were discharged but currently, a total of 109 active cases are currently hospitalized across the country.
Chiponda also said the daily and the seven days’ positivity rate has increased from 1.2% and 1.8% as recorded on June 1 and cumulatively 385,242 have received the first dose and 43,165 second doses have been administered .
“The COVID-19 vaccination remain paused as we have no available
doses and a total of 428,407 vaccine doses has been administered in the country so far and let me re-assure the public that the next consignment of the vaccine is expected in a fortnight’s time.
“I would live to emphasize the need for all of us to strictly adhere to the prescribed Level 3 measures as these will help to suppress and stop the further transmission of the disease in our country.”
The measures are as follows:
a. With the objective to decongest the office, working in shifts (50% of the staff at a shift, if not working from home) is mandatory. Working from home is strongly encouraged in all offices
b. Employees at high-risk of severe disease such as people aged 60-year-old and above and people with comorbidities should work from home
c. Physical indoor meetings are discouraged, virtual meetings and outdoor meetings are encouraged
d. Any other gatherings within the offices are discouraged
e. In offices and places where food is served e.g., offices with a cafeteria, take-away food is encouraged
f. In offices interacting with the public, plastic/glass screens to protect the employees (physical barriers) are installed
g. Where possible, appointments or bookings should be encouraged, and each office shall have a contact tracing system in place
h. Workplaces will follow stipulated curfew times
Hospitals and recreation business
a. Measures to decongest the business place are implemented such as reducing the number of people at the same time (50% of capacity), limiting the contact time inside business places, for example by increasing the number of cashiers / bank tellers / till operators to limit the time in the shop and queueing time, and increasing opening hours
b. Measures to ensure physical distancing such as putting marks on the floor to indicate where to stand to abide by the recommended one-meter radius and adequately ventilated places are in place
c. Measures to avoid gatherings in the business place are implemented.
d. Where possible, take away and/or delivery should be encouraged
e. In markets, vendors should stay at their stand or a fixed position and do not walk about to solicit the customers
f. At the entrance of each business place, the public is screened by at least temperature checking by trained employees and hand washing or sanitizing is mandatory for entry
g. A trained employee positioned at the entrance to monitor and ensure adherence from the customers
h. Plastic/glass screens to protect the employees (physical barriers) are installed
i. In supermarkets and other concerned shops, trolleys and baskets are disinfected between two clients by a trained employee
j. Banks to ensure ATMs always have cash and at least one hand sanitizer dispenser is available at each ATM and is always filled
k. In bars and restaurants, outdoor sitting together with take away and/or delivery is encouraged. For indoors bars and restaurants, the capacity is reduced to 50% maximum. Indoors night clubs are closed
l. Bars to open from 14hrs-22hrs
m. Restaurants to open 06.00hrs to 22.00hrs
Travelling and transportation within Malawi
a. Travelling and transportation is further limited
b. Travelers are advised not to travel outside their respective geographic locations unless necessary and for essential purposes
c. Curfew imposed from 22hrs to 06.00hrs.
d. Conveyances shall not exceed 50% of available seats capacity
e. Conveyances to be disinfected regularly by the operator(s)
f. Wearing of masks, face coverings, hand hygiene and sanitizing is required
g. Respective transport regulatory authorities in collaboration with State Security Agencies to enforce preventative measures and regulatory provisions with support from Compliance Committees
h. Non-compliance of preventative measures by operators and passengers shall attract penalties as prescribed by Government
Travelling internationally from Malawi
a. No restrictions on leaving Malawi to travel internationally, however to protect public health in Malawi, travel to countries or territories, placed as high-risk destinations by Government, is not allowed
b. Only travel for essential purposes, as defined by Government, to high risk placed destinations shall be allowed
c. All travelers will require a valid negative PCR test result certificate of validity as prescribed by Government.
d. Non adherence of preventive measures by operators shall attract regulatory action
Travelling and transportation internationally to Malawi
a. Current travel restrictions apply
b. All travellers to Malawi are subject to the COVID-19 restriction rules as prescribed by Government
c. All travelers will require a valid negative PCR test result certificate of validity as prescribed by Government
d. All visitors arriving from countries or territories, placed as high-risk by Government, will be subjected to 14 days institutional quarantine at their cost
e. Non adherence of preventive measures by operators shall attract regulatory action
a. Mandatory wearing of masks in pLaces of worship hand washing facilities, sanitize microphone in use while preaching, church gathering service should not be more than one hour.
b. Sitting capacity should be reduced to 50% of capacity but numbers should not exceed 100 outdoors and 50 indoors
c. Overnight services not allowed
d. Building should have open ventilation, all windows and doors to remain open during service.
e. All places of worship should have COVID-19 compliance committees which reports to senior management of the church/mosques
a. Sporting activities to adhere to 100 people (players and officials)
b. No spectators to the games allowed
Weddings and engagements
a. Only restricted to 50 indoors and 100 guests outdoors
b. The ceremony should take less than one hour
c. Each wedding and engagements should have CoVID-19 compliance sub committees which reports to the organizing committee
a. Mandatory wearing of masks, availability of hand washing facilities, social distancing, and the house there should be not more than 10 people depending on the size of the house and 100 outside
b. No vigil or overnight service prayers for all funerals not particular to CoVID-19 deaths
c. Burial should take place within 48 hours or timelines stipulated in CoVID-19 burial guidelines
d. Have a funeral community CoVID-19 compliance committee making sure that all the preventing measures are followed
e. No political party rallies allowed
a. Disinfection for day schools screening, contact tracing and quarantine of contacts if confirmed case at a learning institution
b. Closure of affected learning institution with a cluster of cases for 14 days
c. The learning institution has to be disinfected
d. Screening for all learners/students and upon reopening of the learning institutions
e. Screening applies to every personnel working in the learning institutions
f. Referral of suspected cases to nearest health care
a. All students that test positive have to be detained in school but will not attend classes for 14 days in order to assess the situation
b. Students presenting signs and symptoms but tested negative to be left in their own block
c. Disinfection of all school classes and hostels to be done within 24 hours
d. Routine screening of students by health personnel
e. No Visitation days for boarding learning institutions